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Okolona native, and former NFL star Jack Gregory dies

Gregory was 74 years old.

Posted: Mar 2, 2019 8:36 PM
Updated: Mar 2, 2019 11:06 PM

MONROE COUNTY, Miss. (Obituary) - Jack Gregory, Jr., longtime legendary NFL player, farmer, businessman, philanthropist and Chief Executive Officer of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, tackled the last obstacle of sickness and received the victory at 6 a.m. Saturday, March 2nd in Monroe County at age 74.

Known affectionately and respectfully by most as “Big Jack”, the 6’ 5’ giant of a man was born in Tupelo to the late Earl Jackson “Jack” Gregory, an NFL All Star in his own right, and Earlene McComb Gregory.

Gregory family

A man with a gregarious personality and vivacious wit, Gregory graduated from Okolona High School in l962 where he was an award winning standout and All-Conference athlete in football, track and basketball.

Gregory accepted a scholarship to play college football at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga where he was an Honorable Mention All-American playing tight end for the Moccasins.  Although drafted his junior year, he instead transferred to Delta State University where he graduated and set the DSU college record with 557 yards as a tight end.

His pro football career began with the Cleveland Browns, the team his father played for in the l940s. A dominating defensive end, he excelled as a defensive end and tackle, becoming one of the most ferocious quarterback sackers in the NFL.  In l970, in the Browns opening game against the New York Jets, Gregory sacked legendary quarterback Joe Namath in the first televised Monday Night Football game.

Jack became the first free agent in Cleveland Browns history and chose the New York Giants. In l972, Gregory had his finest season, leading the NFL with 21 quarterback sacks, making him NFL Defensive Player of the Year runner-up.

Gregory retired from professional football in 1979, playing his last season with his beloved Browns.

Gregory returned to Mississippi and became a model civic activist, philanthropist, farmer and businessman. He loved the lands of Chickasaw and Monroe County where he farmed its lands and raised cattle.

He formerly owned Jack Gregory Enterprises, a furniture manufacturing firm.  Gregory devoted many hours to his favorite charity, the Easter Seals Campaign where he served several times as National Campaign Chairman and National Board President in l988, achieving the designation as longest serving professional athlete telethon chairman in the organization’s long history.

Gregory became a talent scout for the Denver Broncos.  He was a licensed professional auctioneer, and was founder, president and ringmaster for Rebel Auction Company.

In l993, he was chosen to be executive director of the Mississippi Association of Supervisors, a position he held for 11 years.  An Okolona and Northeast Mississippi icon, Gregory enjoyed his last years being a citizen and purveyor of good times and strong fellowship with his thousands of friends from everywhere.

A former Mississippi National Guard member, he was a lifelong member of the Okolona Presbyterian Church, the Okolona Country Club and the Okolona American Legion.

A service celebrating his life will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, March 4, 2019 at the Okolona Presbyterian Church with Rev. Dr. Randy Lewman and Rev. Jimmy Bryan officiating. Burial will be in the Gregory family plot at Oddfellows Cemetery. Visitation will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 3 at Holland Funeral Directors-Okolona Chapel and from 11 a.m. to service time on Monday at Okolona Presbyterian Church.

Big Jack leaves behind his wife, Susan Brooks Gregory of Okolona, who he married Aug. 7, 2000; his son, E. J. Gregory, III and his wife, Charla of Oxford and a daughter, Madison Brook Gregory of Canton; two step children, Michael Carter (Brandy) of Wren and Amanda Hicklin (Eric). His grandchildren, Riley, Sydni, Thomas, Lucas and Ayden. His only brother, Judge John Andrew Gregory (Claire) of Okolona, and his family, and thousands of friends across Mississippi and around the country. He was preceded in death by his parents and first wife, Gwen Massey Gregory.

Memorials may be made to Okolona Presbyterian Church, 118 Robertson St., Okolona, MS. 38860, Tupelo Lee Humane Society, P. O. Box 2143, Tupelo, MS. 38801 or to Wags, 1317 Old Hwy 6, Amory, MS. 38821. Condolences may be e-mailed to hollandfuneraldirectors@comcast.net

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 255125

Reported Deaths: 5574
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17257180
Hinds16331322
Harrison13567194
Rankin10804212
Jackson10453184
Lee8864141
Madison8314164
Jones6434112
Forrest6009120
Lauderdale5902186
Lowndes5405116
Lafayette499193
Lamar488565
Washington4803124
Bolivar3997109
Oktibbeha395381
Panola372379
Pontotoc367853
Monroe3558105
Warren354898
Union345960
Marshall344066
Neshoba3396152
Pearl River3301100
Leflore3041107
Lincoln298085
Sunflower286671
Hancock274459
Tate273162
Alcorn265453
Itawamba263759
Pike263778
Scott248046
Yazoo247056
Prentiss246552
Tippah243050
Copiah242749
Coahoma241054
Simpson236467
Leake231765
Grenada219471
Covington214672
Marion213073
Adams207070
Wayne202932
Winston201666
George199839
Attala194259
Newton193444
Tishomingo189361
Chickasaw185044
Jasper172736
Holmes168767
Clay159833
Stone144721
Tallahatchie141934
Clarke139862
Calhoun136521
Smith121424
Yalobusha117834
Walthall112336
Noxubee110822
Greene110429
Montgomery109834
Carroll104821
Lawrence102917
Perry102631
Amite98426
Webster92824
Tunica87321
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis85326
Humphreys83124
Benton82023
Kemper77620
Quitman6968
Franklin66715
Choctaw60913
Wilkinson58725
Jefferson54919
Sharkey43117
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 426543

Reported Deaths: 6126
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62752920
Mobile30551554
Madison27303186
Tuscaloosa20835267
Montgomery19192305
Shelby18693114
Baldwin16513183
Lee12603101
Morgan12321113
Etowah11805168
Calhoun11206200
Marshall10236107
Houston8681148
Cullman8094105
Limestone807474
Elmore7923101
DeKalb771597
Lauderdale763183
St. Clair7599120
Talladega6224108
Walker5930174
Jackson583741
Colbert535473
Blount532083
Autauga522755
Coffee446256
Dale399781
Franklin368148
Chilton337865
Russell335910
Covington330168
Escambia321342
Dallas305196
Chambers288669
Clarke283133
Tallapoosa2630107
Pike251329
Marion247350
Lawrence245247
Winston229035
Bibb217047
Geneva203335
Marengo200829
Pickens196931
Hale177442
Barbour173836
Fayette171226
Butler170758
Cherokee160930
Henry155021
Monroe147317
Randolph141535
Washington138326
Clay127045
Crenshaw120244
Cleburne118423
Lamar118419
Macon116835
Lowndes111535
Wilcox103621
Bullock99728
Perry98219
Conecuh95120
Sumter89526
Greene76223
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
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